p. 44, The End of Men

Anthony is still alive! As you all know (if you’ve been paying attention to this blog), Anthony is the nice husband of Catherine. Nice husbands — or any kind of husbands — are in short supply right now, as there is a virus that is killing off only men.

Catherine tell us, on p. 44:

  • Anthony hasn’t gone to work all week. I wouldn’t let him.

If self were married to Anthony, she wouldn’t let him out either! The man is too good: he decorates Christmas trees and smiles touchingly at his wife while at it. Self feels like yelling at Catherine: Woman, you must keep him alive, at all costs!

Meanwhile, Catherine shops for food:

  • I go out to get food, briefly and carefully as late as possible in the quiet of nighttime, touching no one, standing near no one . . . interpreting the smallest cough as a sign that it is here.

Catherine is self. Self, too, interpret the smallest cough as a sign that “it” is here. So does the friend she sees most often.

The other day, we were watching “Respect” in the Century 20 and self had a coughing fit. She tried her best to squelch it, but no, the coughs erupted. Self’s friend first twitched, then crossed her legs, then leaned as far away from self as possible. Not surprising: she’s had cancer and her immune system never recovered. Self is amazed this woman can go out and about at all. If self were her friend and was recovering from cancer while simultaneously trying to hide from a pandemic, she’d spend all her time at home, under a blanket.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“They tend to plan it better”

Self is absolutely enthralled by this book. Especially by the Amanda point of view.

In the course of my career I’ve seen over a hundred girls, boys, men, women who’ve killed themselves in minutes, brought to the hospital still warm by parents and spouses who never imagined they would kill themselves. The ones who everyone was worried about go straight to the morgue. They tend to plan it better. My sons are alive because I have somehow kept this awful disease out of this house and away from them. But they are starving for my care and affection and I cannot give it to them. I don’t hug them. I don’t cook their food. I don’t go near them if I can possibly help it. I cannot be too careful when their lives are at stake.

The End of Men, p. 38

Except, now self has gotten vested in Amanda’s fate. And that is typically bad news for the character (or her husband. Or her sons). She was so vested in Sawyer’s fate in Record of a Spaceborn Few. And she was vested in Buddy Lee in the last book she read. It’s like she has a homing instinct for tragic characters. And those are the ones she lets into her imagination. Maybe she belongs in Scandinavia, in those chilly scenes of winter.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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